Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be

Anyone who knows me well knows I love being in the sun and on the water so when our daughter and son-in-law invited us to join them on their journey I was elated we would temporarily be living at their bay house just a couple blocks from the beach.

While we were invited to live in the house with them, we opted to park our RV in their drive. It was the best of both worlds…We could be close to them yet everyone could have their space. Oh my goodness I was so excited…I was going to:

  • Walk on the beach every day
  • Go fishing whenever I wanted
  • Wake up and drink coffee overlooking the bay
  • Sit around the fire pit in the evening with a glass of wine
  • Cook on the pit

Then reality set in and discovered living on the coast was not all it was cracked up to be!!!

  • The wind blows non stop which means
    • Every day is a bad hair day
    • The pilot on the water heater would not stay lit…Really bad for an “On Demand” water heater. Ice water in the middle of a shower is a real SHOCKER!
    • Everything must be secured at all times so not to blow into the RV or down the street
    • No fire in the fire pit…too cold or too smokey
  • On rare occasions that the wind does subside, the mosquitos set in or should I say swarm in!
  • The pitter patter of little feet are those of birds walking on the roof
  • Where there are birds…there are bird droppings
  • Our car and truck was alway covered in sand and yep, you guessed it…Bird Droppings!!!
  • The tide is really low in the winter so fishing in the bay quickly turned into fishing in a ditch
  • Speaking of winter…The wind that never stops is extremely cold whipping underneath the RV
  • There are quite a few Coyotes and they howl really loud especially when they are right outside the RV
  • Dense fog…Not like any fog I’ve ever seen! It’s like all the sudden you hit a wall

While living on the coast was not all it was cracked up to be, we did make some incredible memories:

  • Fishing with my son-in-law
  • Drop in visits from our daughter
  • A couple walks on the beach before the cold fronts set in
  • Beautiful sunsets

Yesterday we traded our view of the bay for a view of the bayou. I’ll let you know how that is after we’ve been here a few weeks.

Need to Breathe

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The ceiling is so low, the walls are closing in around me, you are standing too close, my clothes are too heavy…I can’t get my breath…I Need To Breathe!!!

For as long as I can remember these feelings have been ever present and something I have struggled with my entire life…I am Claustrophobic!!!

It wasn’t until later in life I learned that claustrophobia is often caused by a traumatic event experienced during early childhood. For example, adults may develop claustrophobia if, as a child they: were trapped or kept in a confined space, were bullied, or abused.

While relieved to learn I didn’t bring this on myself, it makes me sad to know I must continue to suffer from the emotional and physical abuse I endured as a child.

The struggle is real but I thank God every day for Richard’s patience and support! He is definitely the most tolerant man I know! Heck we even sold one of our most favorite houses because the ceilings were too low…

Someone might ask, “why on earth are you sharing this?”. Well, quite frankly, I’ve asked myself that too! Bottom line if this post can help even one person then my work here is done!

I am also of the belief that for every problem there is a solution. While this post will not cure what ails you, it just might help you cope.

So, here’s a list of things that helps me cope:

  1. Get rid of the clutter. Clutter takes up precious space a claustrophobic craves
  2. Open the window blinds. We even go as far as removing the window screens for unobstructed views which provides the illusion of space by bringing the views of nature inside. This has been especially true in our RV
  3. Decorate with mirrors. They reflect light and also create the illusion of space
  4. Purchase a home with the largest amount of square footage you can afford. Square footage was the priority for us so much so we opted to buy homes that required sweat and tears for the biggest bang for our buck
  5. Go outside! This is my greatest secret of survival because the skies are vast, the air has movement, the scents are fresh, and you can move about without bumping into things!!!
  6. Crawl into the water and float in the sunshine. Hands down my most favorite activity EVER!!! First of all the water renders me pretty much weightless and the sun warms my mind, body, and spirit! I frequently remind my family that my spirit animal is a whale and sign all my texts with a whale emoji ūüź≥
  7. Don’t forget about your vehicle. Make sure you are not too close to the dashboard. If your budget allows get a sunroof and leave it open ALL the time!

To the claustrophobic…Space is you friend so you can fulfill your…

NEED TO BREATHE!!!

A New Found Passion

Passion a feeling of intense enthusiasm towards or compelling desire for someone or something. 

When I discovered my passion I was completely caught off guard. I definitely wasn’t looking for anything extra to do in my life…I considered myself busy enough without adding anything else to my plate.

Working as a full time Nurse Consultant, traveling all over South Texas, and literally living out of ¬†hotels, I seldom found time for enjoying a hobby. Then COVID-19 happened and the nurses were pulled out of the field. All of the sudden, I didn’t have to drive 2-6hrs a day or live out of suitcase and for the first time in a very long time work life balance was restored and I began to enjoy everyday life.¬†

Around the end of March, Brandi, my daughter asked me to help her refinish some chairs she had bought for her bay house. Eager to spend quality time with her, I agreed to help. That’s when the magic happened and suddenly I found myself hooked and knew that painting furniture was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.¬†

I then became a sponge! I watched every YouTube video I could find, researched Pinterest, and joined multiple groups on Facebook. As I implemented the techniques I learned, I was blown away at the results.

Very quickly I realized I would not be able to keep all the pieces I worked on and to purchase additional pieces I would have to sell the ones I completed. So, initially I started posting my work on VarageSale and later discovered Marketplace on Facebook and began listing there. 

An additional perk to selling  furniture online is meeting the clients! I love seeing their joy as they receive their new found treasures. Often they send me pictures of their new piece after it has been set up in their home. I absolutely love that!!!

I then set up my Facebook Page A Love Lee Design and posted photos of my work and before I knew it I was receiving special requests. While I enjoy doing commissioned pieces, it can be pretty stressful too. Pleasing the client is so important to me because they have entrusted me with their treasures.

I am so honored that God birthed in me this new found passion. He is the most perfect example of what it means to be creative! After all, He created the heavens and earth. ¬†He created the garden, the animals, and He created us…Talk about creativity at it’s finest…Colors, Textures, Sounds, and Smells. It amazes me that God loves us enough to create us in His image which includes His passion for being creative!

Enjoy the photos of a few of the pieces I’ve done!

We’ve Come a Long Way Baby

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While sitting in our RV and looking out the beautiful grounds of ¬†Lake Texana State Park I find myself reflecting on camping memories we’ve made over the past 41yrs.

Although we have enjoyed camping our entire marriage, it has not come easy or without challenges for us!

I remember our very first camping trip was quite memorable! My Pawpaw loaned us his over head camper and truck and off we went to Markham, Texas where we camped on my Pawpaw’s small lot on the lake. It was a barren piece of land with not a tree in sight but it was lakefront property. The camper was cozy (code for tiny) and as newly weds, we made some sweet memories!

After we had children, we decided we needed to invest in a tent and all the fancy camping gear needed to be able to cook, wash dishes, have light after dark, stay cool at night, avoid leaks when it rained, prevent insects from invading our meals, and on, and on! During that time we spent most of our time at Huntsville State Park. The girls loved it there!

Our trips to Huntsville were filled with memories which we can now laugh at…

  • The year of the frogs: We arrived to the camp right after a big rain and the frogs loved it…Those critters were so loud! They kept Richard up the entire night. I woke up the next morning to find him finally asleep but had toilet paper hanging out of his ears. Now that’s one way to quiet the voices…LOL
  • The year of the mouse: I had walked up to the restroom and as I was walking back to our camp site, I saw Richard running around the enclosure we had erected over the picnic table. He had a broom and dust pan in his hand. When he saw me, he yelled, “Stop right there. Your not gonna be happy about this!” He was so right! Mice freak me out!!! He finally capture the mouse and released it to the wild.
  • The year of the crawfish: Again, we arrived in Huntsville after a storm and crawfish were everywhere…Lobster size crawfish!!! Everywhere we stepped there was a crawfish! So, that was our family’s 1st Crawfish Bowl. The girls loved it!
  • The year of the Blue Northern: We arrived in Huntsville and set up our tent (in the dark which is always a challenge) when the winds began to pick up and yep…A Blue Northern blew in and oh my gosh it was cold!!! Poor Richard, he was out in the woods during the middle of the night in nothing but a t-shirt trying to find firewood so we could keep the kids warm. We pulled the kids out of the tent and placed them around the fire. Bless Richard’s heart…He stayed awake the entire night making sure the girls didn’t roll into the fire. You can better believe we were at Wal-Mart when the doors opened the next morning buying a space heater for the tent!
  • The Year of the Rains: This year we arrived at our campsite and setup camp when our of nowhere torrential rains began to fall from the heavens. Every single thing in our tent was drenched…including us! That was the year we learned to pack garbage bags for our linens and towels and polyurethane to drape over the tent.

On one occasion we decided to take the girls to Lake Texana State Park. That was the year of the coons! Yep, during the night the raccoons got into our ice chest and ate every single bite of food we had brought. The only thing they didn’t eat was the mayonnaise but they completely destroyed the label trying to figure out how to open it. We woke up to an absolute disaster! We loaded the girls up and spent our last pennies at McDonald’s on their breakfast then headed home.

As the girls got older and involved in dance and softball we no longer had weekends to camp but once they were grown and had moved out, Richard and I thought we would give camping another try. We purchased another tent and all the gear.

And, being the happy homemaker, I decided I would buy beautiful sheets and bedspread, candles, and create a romantic getaway for the both of us. I crawled into bed all nice and comfy when Richard plopped down on the air mattress and I went flying through the air and landed on the side of the tent all while the campers across the street illuminated our tent with the headlights on their car. Talk about the ultimate silhouette show.

When we returned home we discovered someone in the neighborhood was selling a pop-up camper so we thought that would be a better option for us. To be able to pack it up, prop it up, camp, and then fold it back up when we were through…NOT!!!¬†I remember Richard crouched under the camper fighting with the crank that opened the camper. Sweat would be pouring off of him. He was so frustrated!

Richard and I ¬†decided to take a trip Bastrop State Park. I remembered the prior camping trip which was filled with frustration and aggravation so, I took it upon myself to contact the bank and get pre-qualified for an RV. As Richard was struggling to get the pop-up set up, I casually walked up and showed him the pre qualification letter. His response was “Get your butt in the truck, we are going to buy and RV. I am too old to keep doing this!”.

So, off we went…We bought a Class C. It was really nice at first then we realized we should have bought an RV with slides because we couldn’t both move about the unit without running into each other. I would find myself so frustrated when I cooked because no matter where I stepped, Richard was there!!!

That settles it…We need a different type of unit so we bought a 5th wheel. It was amazing!!! Granite counter tops, a fireplace, 2 slides, and a walk-in shower! It was perfect until it began to rain. Oh My Gosh…That unit leaked like a sieve! ¬†So much so, water seeped between the exterior and wall paper and swelled until it was like a HUGE water balloon. So, off we go to return the unit…

The Salesman asked me, “How can we make this right?” I responded, “Put us in a Class A Diesel Pusher”…And he did! We loved that unit!!! I loved that Richard could be driving it down the highway and I could go in the bathroom without stopping or we could stop on the side of the road, turn on a football game and have lunch and a cup of coffee. It was perfect!!!

Then, we decided we would eliminate the RV so we could build a house. Before long we realized how much we missed it and decided to try the 5th wheel route again because it would allow us to have more living space and fewer mechanical parts to maintain (such as an engine).

The Year of the Winds and rain: So, here we are in our 5th wheel and love that while the winds have been at a sustained 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph and it has rained cats and dogs… we are safe, dry, and warm. We have eaten fresh salads from the refrigerator, soups and chili out of the crock pot. I have baked keto cornbread and keto cinnamon rolls. I have made almond meal pancakes with fried bacon for breakfast. We have had a hot shower every night and slept on our therapeutic mattress.

I am ¬†So Thankful for What I‚Äôve Got.¬† And, I believe it is because of all the challenges and struggles we faced in our early years of camping that we are better able to recognize how blessed we are and that…

We’ve Come A Long Way Baby!!!

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His Christmas Spirit is Infectious!

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Oh how I love to be around my Son-in-Law, Robi at Christmas time! His Christmas Spirit is unmatched by any I have ever seen! Every year he restores a portion of The Christmas Magic I lost as a little girl.

As the oldest child, my parents relied on me a lot. Bless their hearts, one Christmas in particular, they bit off more than they could chew. My dad had been working a lot of overtime, mom was swamped with keeping up with 4 kids and that was the year they decided to buy us kids a kitchen and dining set for our playhouse.

Now, back then toys weren’t as easy to assemble as they are today. They were made of metal with lots of screws, washers, and stickers. So, on Christmas Eve, I walked into the den to find my parents sitting in the middle of the floor trying to get the sink, refrigerator, and stove/oven put together. As if that wasn’t enough they had also purchased the table and chairs and yes, they had to be assembled too! Out of desperation my dad turned to me and said, “Here, hold this” and before I knew it I was assembling my gift from “Santa Clause”. Yep, that was the year Christmas Lost its Magic!

That is until I met my Son-in-Law. Year after year I watch that man immerse himself in Christmas.

He LOVES Everything about Christmas!!!

Initially this confused me. I could not grasp the concept that a man could be so excited about Christmas; especially after being married to Richard for almost 41yrs. And, for 41yrs his response has never changed when I ask what he would like to get the kids or grandkids for Christmas…”Just get them a Card” he would respond. Bah Humbug!!!!

Now in Richard’s defense, he remembers Christmas being magical as a kid. His parents did an incredible job of providing him with a happy home; one that was balanced and was always receptive to providing our girls with that magical Christmas as well. However, he also thought I was excessive in my gift giving. So, with that said, you can better understand my confusion watching Robi’s excitement.

46488049_2105883862776934_4326163004975480832_nWith Robi, the process of Christmas begins well before Thanksgiving. He ensures the electrical wiring is ran creating a whole different breaker box just for Christmas lights. The week of Thanksgiving the lights are hung and he begins to pull the yard decorations out of the attic and organize them on the garage floor. Bins of Christmas decorations begin to emerge each labeled as interior or exterior.
As he removes the lids on the bins it is as if it is the first time he’s seen the treasures within. His eyes light up and his pupils actually dilate with excitement!

Thanksgiving dinner is over, most of the family has gone home and the process begins. The tree is brought in…This in itself is an ordeal because the tree is HUGE! Then, the fluffing process begins. As Brandi and I are putting the Garland on the stair banisters, I look over and see Robi grinning from ear to ear, cheaters on his nose, and intense concentration as he is shaping each individual limb and needle on the tree. He is in his happy place as he works his way up the tree.

Then, Brandi asks, “Do you want me to help you decorate the yard?”. No words needed…Facial expressions spoke volumes! And, they were off to place the yard decorations!

At that point Richard and I set off for our journey home (hahaha…just a few doors down the street) and leave them to it. Later Brandi tells us they had put out all the yard decorations out within about 30 minutes. Robi’s planning had paid off!

What I have learned from my Son-in-Law about Christmas:

  • Each Christmas is a new experience: Though the process is the same, he treats each year as though it has never happened before
  • It is a state of mind: Full of anticipation, excitement, and sheer joy. He never allows the cares of the day to interrupt his celebration
  • Preparation is key: Things fall right into place when the proper preparations have been made
  • Gift giving should be personalized: Knowing…really knowing the “likes” of family members makes finding that special gift so easy
  • Never hide your enthusiasm: You never know whose life you might impact

My Son-in-Law’s enthusiasm for Christmas has significantly impacted my life over the past 10 years and has restored the Magic of Christmas to me! Yep…

His Christmas Spirit is Infectious!

When is the last time you experienced the childlike magic of Christmas? I encourage you to:

  • Attend a Church Christmas Play
  • Watch Hallmark Christmas Movies and Drink Hot Chocolate
  • Take a Drive and Look at Christmas Lights
  • Invite a small group of friends over.
    • This doesn’t have to be expensive
    • Put on a pot of soup
    • Have everyone bring a side or desert
  • Buy at least one Christmas decoration a year and hang on to it. Before you know it, one year your place will look like a Hallmark Christmas Card
  • Go Christmas caroling
  • See the Nutcracker (this one can be a little pricey unless you can find it put on by a local dance studio)
  • Surround yourself with people who encourage your enthusiasm
  • Be Infectious: Be the person you would like to be around at Christmas

¬†Most Importantly…Remember and Celebrate The Reason For The Season”

JESUS

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So Thankful for What I’ve Got

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So, this morning I decided to review some drafts of different posts I had started but never finished when the first one that caught my eye was

“So Thankful for What I’ve Got”.

Perhaps, it’s because we just recently celebrated Thanksgiving, I really don’t know why it caught my eye but it did. So as I read the title and what I had pasted to the page¬†a good while back, probably well over 2 years ago, it became apparent why I had not finished the post. There was so much more to come!

Evidently, I had seen this post from the App “God Wants You To Know” because I had copied and pasted the post from my news feed. It said,

“Today, Lee, we believe God wants you to know that …

You have no right to wish for more, until you fully appreciate what you already have.

It’s not the amount that matters, but the blessings you are able to receive from it. A slice of stale bread gives more to the beggar, than a new house to the rich. Everything you have has unending blessings for you hidden inside, – learn to receive them.”

WOW…The words jumped off the page and into my heart as they took on an entire different meaning for me this morning than what I read over 2 years ago!

Now, by no means do I consider myself a beggar or do I consider myself rich, but I’m not gonna lie, we have lived through some very lean times and some times of plenty. We have lived in a 600 sq ft house and a 3,800 sq ft house. We have eaten casseroles with lots of fillers and we have had steak but no matter what we have always recognized it was God’s provisions for our life.

Here’s one particular example of God’s provision that comes to mind that I can share

It was around 1996 we were living the “Good Life”. We both had good jobs, we had purchased out 3,800 sq ft home in Brazoria, we had finally found our church home, and we were happy that is as happy as parents of teenagers could be. Then we get the news Richard was being downsized by Dow.

Not sure what downsized means…They should have just said cut, chopped, killed, or any other word that would¬†snuff the life out of ones livelihood. So anyway, here we were with this whopping mortgage, outrageous utility bills, car payments, not to mention, groceries we needed to buy!

Richard had applied for every job he could and nothing! So, out of desperation he decided to get his Realtor’s¬†License. Now, you would have to know Richard, he is so brutally honest that he would rather lose a sale and go hungry than talk someone into buying something he know was not a right fit for that person. So, as you can imagine, he wasn’t selling any houses. He would tell me, “Babe, I can’t sell a life-preserver to a drowning man”. Bless his heart…He was trying so hard!!!

Ok, so here is where the unending blessing hidden inside comes…

One Saturday morning I got a call from my friend Dianne Butler asking if she could borrow a stick of butter (No way I would ever tell her it was the last stick of butter to our name) and I told her “of course”. So, a few minutes later she came down to pick it up and was off with my last stick of butter. Soon after that Richard came home for lunch. Things are sparse and so he decided to make himself a grilled cheese. He reaches into the refrigerator for the last stick of butter and it’s gone. He calls out to me, “Hey babe, where’s that stick of butter?”. I replied, “Dianne needed it”. He yells back, “ok, no problem”. So, when I walk into the kitchen I find him spraying his bread with butter flavored Pam and goes about making his grilled cheese.

Later that evening Dianne blessed us with a loaf of Banana Nut Bread…Now that was a great use for a stick of butter!!! It was delicious! But, the story gets even better…

The next morning we get up, get dressed, and are off to church just like any other Sunday. ¬†Richard, was the director of the Adult lV group at the time and we would meet with all the classes in Adult lV for a general assembly before Sunday School. ¬†We would have refreshments, announcements, and prayer then break off and go our separate ways for class. This particular Sunday something was different. We noticed people showing up that weren’t usually in our group they were in either an older or younger division. When I looked up and saw Dianne, I knew something was up.

Pretty soon, the room was filled with people. Richard continued with the announcements and then we heard Billy Canard say, “Brother Richard, can I interrupt you?” and made his way to the front of the room. He began to speaking to Richard and me in front of all these people who had come into the room. He said that even though we had not shared our ¬†financial struggles the church body new times must be rough since Richard had lost his job. He proceeded to inform us that they wanted to bless us. And, Bless us they did!!!

Oh my gosh…They provided us with food, clothes soap, ¬†toiletries, even treats for the kids. That classroom full of people had given us enough food to carry us from that day until the day Richard got a job and his first paycheck. We were so humbled by their outpouring of Love!!!

I could tell you story after story after story of how God has made provisions for our lives and still is. How He uses His servant children as the vehicle to bless our lives. While we recognize the blessing comes from our Father, we are also aware it requires a level of obedience on the part of His Children.

So, here’s where the “Everything you have has unending blessings for you hidden inside, – learn to receive them.” comes into play.

I’m not going to tell you it is easy to be the recipient…It Is NOT! Richard and I have always been taught it is more blessed to give than receive and oh how we love to give!!! But, one thing God has shown us… Those who gave would not receive their blessing if we had not received the gifts which they had given out of obedience to Him.

To this very day we continue to be blessed beyond measure!!! So much so one scripture comes to mind.

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I can dream about it (and I have), I can talk about it (done that too) but all that was meaningless because all those dreams and all those discussions could not compare to the way God has chosen to bless us with Mind Blowing Blessings!!!

I am So Grateful for God’s Provisions for Our Lives

I am So Thankful For What I’ve Got

I STAND IN AWE OF GOD!!!

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The Magic of Giggles

 

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Recently I hosted “A Love Lee Christmas Tea Party” in our home and I’m not gonna lie, I was a little nervous. I’ve been hesitant to invite anyone over since the time I cooked a full Thanksgiving meal and all but one person RSVP’d they were coming and only a hand full of people actually showed up. So, as you can imagine, I was a little skeptical anyone would even come; even with an RSVP saying they would.

Then the day before the Tea Party Cheyenne, my granddaughter, walked up and gave me a big hug and said, “Meme, I can’t wait for the Tea Party tomorrow”. With that one single statement, all was well with the world again and all my anxiety dispelled. If no one else showed up at least Cheyenne would be there!

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So, I moved forward with the preparations for the Tea. I purchased the sweets (to avoid the temptation of licking my fingers while baking), made foods that were healthy and “legal” for my lifestyle, decorated the tables, cleaned the commodes (hahaha), and swept the floors. Everything was going according to plan.

The day of the party I had to run pick up a few things from the store but things were still going according to plans. I was right on track for the guest to arrive at 2pm. Then, at approximately 1:30pm the doorbell rang. OMGosh…My head started spinning and my heart pounding…I’m not done!!! I still have the ‘Christmas Tree” to make. I said to myself, “Oh well…guess they will have to help or talk to me while I finish up”. I opened the front door and there stood my Granddaughter Sarah (Brandon’s wife) with Skylar on her hip Then I looked down and Payton my Great Granddaughter was beaming with a smile from ear to ear!!! Sarah said, “sorry we’re early but she was so excited about coming; I couldn’t make her wait any longer”.

Immediately, my anxiety faded and I invited Payton to help me finish my Christmas Tree. Oh my goodness, that child was so excited!!! She jumped up on a stool and went to work. Before I knew it I had an expert on my hands! She strategically placed the fruits and quickly discarded any that were not worthy to be displayed. Then out of no where she exclaimed, “Meme, where’s the star? We have to have a star!”. Wow, I hadn’t thought of a topper…Leave it to a child to point out the obvious. I told her I would go look in my box of goodies to see what I could find. As I’m walking out of the kitchen she hollers at me “If you don’t have anything I will make you one. I love crafts!”. Knowing I had absolutely nothing in the house for “crafts” I came back with 2 pieces of fern covered in gold glitter. “Oh Meme, that’s perfect!”…Whew, she bought it!

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Soon Tommi, my daughter and son-in-law’s great niece (I love that she calls me Meme too!), arrived and she jumped up on the second stool and began to help decorate the “Christmas Tree”. Now Tommi, she is our fruit and vegetable girl so she was actually eating more than she was placing. I heard Payton tell Tommi, “The topper is not edible” (What 4yr old says edible?) so be sure and don’t try to eat it.

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Before you know it the door bell begins to ring and people begin to show up and the noise level begins to rise. My heart was FULL…They came!!!

Before we got started we blessed the food. Then Payton, Tommi, and Ava seated themselves at a smaller table. They began to prepare their tea while having the cutest little girl conversation.

And The…”Magic” Happened!!!

Giggles…Little Girl Giggles

My most favorite sound in the world was filling our home!!!

All of the cares of the world, anxiety over anything, and sadness engulfing us, lifts at the sound of Little Girl Giggles!

Excitement, Exuberance, Pure Joy exudes in Little Girl Giggles!

Then I began to wonder…When did my Giggle leave me? Where did it go? What made it stop?

But…Wait! One thing I forgot to mention, Giggles are contagious!!! Before I knew it I found myself giggling too!

My Giggle had returned!

The Magic of a Giggles…You have the power to start an epidemic!!!

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A School Assignment Generates A Life Assignement

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Late in evening on Thanksgiving day we received a text from Brandi asking if we were still awake. When I responded “yes”, she text, “good, I’m coming down”. Hmmm…We had not left her house that long ago so, we could not imagine why she would be coming to see us.

Because we live only a few doors down from her, it took less than 5 minutes before she was standing in our kitchen with pen and paper in hand. She smiled and announced, “I have to interview one of you for my Psychology class assignment and its due tomorrow. Initially, I was confident she would interview her Daddy because she finds his conversations and responses to her questions humorous and entertaining. But, because he could not quickly put his hands on a baby photo and I could, I was chosen by default.

After only a few questions I became keenly aware assignment was based on¬†Erickson’s Stages of Development. The questions she presented were hard and thought-provoking. The caused me to reflect on physical, mental, and emotional changes I have encountered with the aging process. Yep, it was Erickson’s Generativity vs. Stagnation

Care: Generativity vs. Stagnation

(Copied from the link above Erickson’s Stages of¬†Development)

Existential Question: Can I Make My Life Count?

Generativity is the concern of guiding the next generation. Socially-valued work and disciplines are expressions of generativity.

During middle age the primary developmental task is one of contributing to society and helping to guide future generations. When a person makes a contribution during this period, perhaps by raising a family or working toward the betterment of society, a sense of generativity‚ÄĒa sense of productivity and accomplishment‚ÄĒresults. In contrast, a person who is self-centered and unable or unwilling to help society move forward develops a feeling of stagnation‚ÄĒa dissatisfaction with the relative lack of productivity.

Central tasks of middle adulthood
  • Express love through more than sexual contacts.
  • Maintain healthy life patterns.
  • Develop a sense of unity with mate.
  • Help growing and grown children to be responsible adults.
  • Relinquish central role in lives of grown children.
  • Accept children’s mates and friends.
  • Create a comfortable home.
  • Be proud of accomplishments of self and mate/spouse.
  • Reverse roles with aging parents.
  • Achieve mature, civic and social responsibility.
  • Adjust to physical changes of middle age.
  • Use leisure time creatively.

Brandi asked questions I was not really comfortable answering; not because the responses were private but because I did not want to have to admit I was not thriving in gernerativity but instead stagnation.

Generativity is defined as “a concern for establishing and guiding the next generation”.

Holy Cow…This stage of development is for ages 40-59 and I’m 58???

What the heck…What the heck am doing? I’m Stagnant…I’m stagnant and I have only got one year left before I move on to the next stage which is “Ego Integrity vs. Despair”.

OH MY GOSH panic flooded my entire being but I didn’t want Brandi to see that my brain was literally freaking out. I initially told her “well, I can’t think of anything” then, the gears started turning and my brain engaged and a sweet voice spoke to me… “Hello, Lee Ann…Duh, what are you doing every time you train a nurse, medication aid, or CNA? What are you doing when you share your stories with your grandchildren or share a recipe, or offer an opinion when asked, or send that text, or hug them and tell them how much you love them. Baby Girl, you are giving back!”.

Ok…Ok…Ok…but is it enough I thought to myself. Am I doing all I can do to impact future generations? Am I doing enough to further the Kingdom of Heaven. The answer was “Noooooo!!!”. ¬†So, I’ve been thinking of things that would move me from Stagnation to Generativity and here’s my “to¬†do” list.

To Do List:

  1. Be Present: When I am with someone, I will be with them in that moment and not be distracted by the past of future. I will make this moment count
  2. Be Intentional: When I am with someone I will actively engage and interact with that person. I will unplug and make them the center of my attention without distractions
  3. Be Real: When I am with someone, I will be authentic and not try to be someone I think they need but be the me God created me to be. That is when I am my best version of ME and to give them all of me…I need to be the real me.
  4. Be Patient: When I am with someone, I will be patient and allow them to be them. Everyone has weaknesses and struggles. I will allow them to move at the speed they need to move and be patient if it is not my speed.
  5. Be Generous: When I am with someone, I pray I never withhold anything. I want to give them 100% of whatever God has blessed me with to give.
  6. Be Loving: When I am with someone and even when I’m not, I pray most of all they feel loved…Not just a warm fuzzy feeling but a deep to the core kinda love.
  7. Write About It: When God lays something on my heart, I want to be obedient and write about it. Not to draw attention to me but to generate a spark in someone else. Reminds me of that song “It Only Takes a Spark to Get a Fire Going”. Sooo True!

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I will mess up…Heck, I do it daily!!! But I ask God to give me the ability to recognize His opportunities to live a life so others may see Jesus.

So, it seems to me, Brandi’s school assignment generated my Life Assignment…

What’s your Life Assignment?

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I Found My Word For the Year

That’s right…I found my word for the year after being challenged by my ¬†dear friend Andrea Stunz who is a contributing author on Kirk Cameron‚Äôs website thecourage.com. I absolutely Love… Love…Love what she wrote in “The one word I need for the new year”. ¬†After reading her story, I could not think of anything else…What was my word? I thought of a thousand words but none were perfect for me. Then all of the sudden¬†it came while I was standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes. Of course, my word for 2018 is the most perfect word EVER!!!

HOPE

What is hope? What does hope really mean? I thought I knew but wanted to be sure. OMGosh, my heart skipped a beat as I read about hope and I absolutely loved the definitions.

Noun: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
            Synonyms: Aspiration, Desire, Wish, Expectation, Ambition, Aim, Goal, Plan
Verb: to want something to happen or be the case.
            Synonyms: Expect, Anticipate, Look for, Be hopeful of

Now when I was young I was taught the polar opposite definitions of hope. I was told:

  • “Don’t expect anything and you won’t be disappointed it doesn’t happen”
  • “Don’t get your hopes up”
  • “That will never happen”
  • “We’ll see”
  • “No”

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As an adult those phrases were pushed to the back of my mind until August of 2016 when   my life completely unraveled. I had allowed myself to dream but only to have every thing come crashing down around me. The words I heard growing up became a self-fulfilling prophecy and my life was engulfed with loss and disappointment.

For some, hoping is easy but for me it is a huge risk. Taking the risk to hope again could result in more loss and disappointment. However, I’ve decided…Nothing ventured…Nothing Gained.

There is so much anticipation in the word HOPE. It’s kinda like getting to go on vacation. All you can think about is where your going and what you plan¬†to do when you get there. You expect to have a good time…YOU HAVE HOPE!!!

My favorite scripture contains HOPE!!!

‚ÄúFor I know the plans I have for you,‚ÄĚ declares the Lord, ‚Äúplans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.‚ÄĚ Jeremiah 29:11

My Word for 2018 is HOPE

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What Lies Beneath

We humans are the most fascinating¬†creatures…We may¬†be going through some really tough times financially, physically, or even emotionally but no one would ever know. Nope, the world is¬†clueless because we are the masters of disguise.

I was reminded of this one day when¬†Richard said, “How ‘Bout A Cup of Coffee”¬†and we headed to the pier to have our afternoon chat. It was windy that day and the waters were a little choppy. I remember thinking to myself…Wow, even though the water is a little rough no one would ever know…

What Lies Beneath

By watching the video below you will understand exactly what I mean!

For the fish in the video, it¬†only¬†takes is a little food to bring them¬†to the surface. You see, they are hungry and under those somewhat calm waters they are scurrying around trying to find that which satisfies their hunger…

We are much the same. We as humans tend to flounder around seeking that which satisfies the emotional hunger in us. To fill the void we buy cars, boats, clothes, shoes, handbags, jewelry, and even enter into unhealthy relationships. That hunger for affection, acceptance or even success can drive us to unhealthy measures in efforts to quiet the turmoil within.

While our physical hunger can be met by the right choices in food, satiety can be obtained for our emotional hunger. In order to recognize what your hungry for, you must…

  • Remove those toxic relationships from your daily life. It is so important to clear out ¬†those negative influences; the ones that drag you down and keep your life in constant turmoil. The relationships that cloud your view of what’s above the chaos.
  • Build healthy relationships. Foster those type relationships that build you up, support you, hold you accountable, and encourage you to be the best you can be. The relationships that keep you from drowning by holding you up and keeping your head above water
  • Be the perfect example of the type of person you are seeking to associate yourself with. Like attracts like so if you want
    • To be treated with kindness…show kindness
    • To be loved…love
    • To be shown respect..respect
    • To be included…include

I could go on forever but I think you get my drift..We¬†can actually satisfy our¬† hunger by feeding those around us.¬†In doing so we no longer have to¬†feed on the bottom of the lake but instead we¬†actually get to eat the good stuff. We¬†are no longer subjected to the chaos, turmoil, confusion, or unrest…

What Lies Beneath!

If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. Isaiah 58:10

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